Al Jazeera International, the new 24-hour English-language news and current affairs channel, headquartered in Doha, has announced its full line up of bureaux and correspondents across Africa ahead of its global launch later this year. The channel will have bureaux in Cairo, Egypt; Abidjan, Ivory Coast; Nairobi, Kenya; Johannesburg, South Africa and Harare- Zimbabwe.
In addition, Al Jazeera International will share the resources of Al Jazeera Arabic Channel’s African bureaux located in Ndjamena, Chad; Tripoli, Libya; Nouakchott, Mauritania; Rabat, Morocco; Dakar, Senegal; Mogadishu, Somalia; Johannesburg, South Africa and Khartoum, Sudan.
“Our reporting from Africa will be unparalleled. We will have more bureaux and resources dedicated to Africa than any other global broadcaster,” said Nigel Parsons, Managing Director of Al Jazeera International on a visit to South Africa.
Talking from the channel’s Doha headquarters, Director of News, Steve Clark said, “Africa is one of the most pivotal places in the world to report from. It is a continent of hope and change.”
“We are planning other bureaux across the continent of Africa and will be announcing them in due course,” Steve Clark continued. Al Jazeera International will have a strong presence and high level of expertise in Africa through its bureaux and dedicated resources.
In pursuing a news agenda that is all-inclusive, it is the only global news channel to be granted a license to operate a bureau in Zimbabwe. That will give Al Jazeera International unique access to this part of Southern Africa.
Andrew Simmons, Bureau Chief Africa, has been co-ordinating sub-Saharan coverage. He will also be deployed on special reporting assignments.
“Large swathes of Africa have been uncovered by television news for too long. And so many parts of this beautiful continent suffer from what I would term reactive coverage. We want to carve out a news agenda that is pro-active. I believe that in doing so the outside world’s perception of this continent could gradually change,” said Andrew Simmons.
“We will set out to normalise news coverage in Africa. While we won’t ignore the tragedy and injustice of conflict, our cameras will bring viewers the myriad stories of achievement and causes for celebration. We want to concentrate on the people of Africa, not necessarily the political initiatives of those in power,” he continued.
Al Jazeera International also announced that it has appointed correspondents Amr El-Kahky in Cairo, Gabi Menezes in Abidjan and Haru Mutasa as correspondent in Nairobi. They join Farai Sevenzo as correspondent in Harare and Kalay Maistry as correspondent in Johannesburg as announced to the press earlier in the year.
“The teams we have in place show a level of dedication and understanding that I am sure will give us a distinctive edge,” said Andrew Simmons.